Friday, 31 May 2019

Feeling invisible.

Last Friday we went to famous relative's surprise 80th birthday party in Bolton. “Rainbow Glamour! Wear something appropriately colourful,” his PA Louise said. So I dressed like this:

A rainbow feather boa is about as rainbow glamorous as I can manage (apart from a lollipop skirt anyway). A lot of the guests didn't bother. I guess being world-famous actors and suchlike feels glamorous enough already without needing to dress it up as well. Family tried a bit harder:

Front (by relationship to X): first cousin, nephew's wife, X, niece's husband, niece, grand-nephew's wife. Behind: first cousin once removed, grand-nephew, grand-nephew's wife, grand-nephew. Photo: nephew. (I'm not sure where brother-in-law had gotten to.)

Several people said they liked my jumper. One guy liked it so much that he took to stroking it (me) whenever he walked past our table. Okay. But that's not what's got me thinking.

I'm looking at the top picture again and wondering: pink shoes, pink jeans, fluffy red jumper (I don't wear the boa too often, just at Pride really) – what do other people see when they look at me?

It's not something you ever ask, is it? “How do you see me?” And if you did ask, people aren't primed to answer questions like that. Mostly I just get compliments about what I'm wearing, which are always nice. But what do they actually see?

Do I look: Weird? Queer? Ridiculous? Gay? Trans? Femme? And if so, how femme? On a scale from 1 to 10.

Well, as long as people aren't abusive, I don't particularly mind what they think they see. But it'd be nice to know all the same. I'm currently feeling a bit invisible :/


  1. In certain circles it may be that your appearance is fully accepted. I mean, given Famous Uncle's background and all, you'd think they would be, well, 'unbothered'? Could it be that with the instructions for rainbows in the megawatt range, that people considered your outfit more of a costume?

    What would you have preferred as a reaction?

    Oh, and to answer your question: a person who dresses outside the norm. Someone happy to do their own thing. As to sexuality or otherwise: it's hard to say, but that may be my bias talking around having met enough folk to not judge them by how they look* :-)

    But, my radar may be off, given what I think is okay, would probably cause us both trouble at certain less liberal venues. ;-)

    ( * Unless in an impeccably tailored suit and a face with bleached teeth and a permatan grin. :-P )

    1. Ah, I didn't mean at famous cousin's party specifically. I meant more in general.

      I've not worn that particular outfit on the streets (as it were), but I do usually dress quite femme. At least to me. For instance, I once caught sight of myself reflected in the windows of Victoria Bus Station: multi-coloured polo-necked mohair jumper, long fur-fringed Dorothy Perkins denim coat, and thought: “damn, I look femme”. But what do other people think?

      Okay, it'd've been nice to know at the party too. Especially the thoughts of those relatives I've not seen in thirty years or so. But yes, it was rainbow themed, and the party of a paragon of gay rights, so perhaps not very much. All the same... ;)

      Sometimes you do notice reactions. At Thoresby Park the other day (actually on the way home from Bolton): orange and black tie-dyed t-shirt, short purple fur-fringed jacket... The disgust on one late-middle-aged guy's face was plain to see. So I wasn't invisible to him. (That jacket does tend to raise eyebrows.) But what he actually thought, who knows.

      I've also – TMI content warning! – taken to wearing padded butt-lifter shapewear under jeans recently, and you'll know the difference that can make. As to why, apart from liking the look... possibly it's all part of the same “feeling invisible”. Somebody say something! But no one has as yet.

      Then again, maybe I'm just missing it all. Thoresby is the type of place where you say “hello” as you pass, so you look at people directly. That doesn't always go down so well in the city: “What are you staring at?!” But perhaps if I exercised due care...

      Thanks for your own answer anyway: “outside the norm”. Or “non-normative” in the appropriate jargon. I guess that'll do for now :)